How to shop for sustainable jewelry

Jewelry offers us an opportunity to express ourselves and makes a great gift for a loved one, but unfortunately, jewelry can have a negative impact on the planet and the people who produce it. So how can you ensure your jewelry is sustainable? Today we bring you a guide to help narrow in on jewelry that’s both ethically and sustainably made. 

What to look for in sustainable jewelry

It uses recycled metals and stones

Precious metals are endlessly recyclable, so getting a piece made from recycled materials is almost guaranteed to have a lower footprint than one made with virgin materials. One study of gold found that jewelry made from recycled materials can have 300 times less impact in terms of energy use and emissions. 

It has a transparent supply chain 

If you’re buying a piece made from new materials, it’s important to look at where those materials come from. Look for gems that are certified conflict-free and gold and silver that come from mines with labor protections. 

Pay attention to low-impact processing

Cutting and styling jewelry takes a lot of energy and resources. Look for companies that use renewable energy or offset their emissions. 

Opt for lab-grown

Lab grown gems are rapidly gaining popularity as the most ethical option for fine jewelry. See if the company you’re interested in offers lab-grown options when you’re shopping around. 

It’s made to last

With jewelry, you’re looking for something that will last a long time, so it’s worth investing in a higher quality product. Fortunately, that higher price range will also likely get you a more sustainable and ethical product. Read reviews online to see what consumers are saying about durability to make sure your investment is worth it. 

Keep an eye out for these labels

The jewelry industry has several certifications to help you make an informed decision. These are some to keep an eye out for. 

  1. Fair Trade Certified. This means the product has been vetted and its production prioritizes equitable pay and safe, legal working conditions. 
  2. The Kimberly Process (for diamonds). This international certification works to confirm that brands have not used conflict diamonds in their products. 
  3. Fairmined (for metals). Much like the Kimberly Process for diamonds, this certification means that the silver, gold, and platinum used are sourced from small-scale mining communities that use sustainable extraction practices. 
  4. Gemological Institute of America (for gemstones). This doesn’t mean much in terms of sustainability or ethical production, but it does ensure that the product you’re buying is as high quality as its producers claim. It can be valuable for recycled stones to prove their authenticity. 

Some brands to check out 

  1. Anndra Neen. These pieces are handcrafted by artisans in Mexico and its founders travel to production sites every few months to ensure sustainability and ethical production. 
  2. Aurate. This is a great brand for those on a budget. It’s a larger company, but all their gold is recycled and all their diamonds are certified by the Kimberly Process. 
  3. BR Design Co. This jewelry is handmade by two sisters using traditional clay. All their goods are diamond-free and highly affordable. 
  4. Catbird. This brand is so confident in its transparent production that you can even take tours of their factory. All their pieces are made from recycled, ethically sourced, and conflict-free materials.
  5.  Futura. All of Futura’s pieces are made with Fairmined Ecological gold. 
  6.  Melissa Joy Manning. This California designer uses recycled metals and responsibly sourced stones, sourced domestically when possible. 

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